Smiles by the Mile: Ravenna residents turn out for Main Street grand opening

Diane Smith


“Despite a chill in the air and overcast skies that threatened rain, there were smiles by the mile Saturday as Main Street Ravenna unveiled the downtown area’s latest attraction.

The Main Street Mile opened Saturday. The three-hour event included music from DJ Krooze and Krew, a Touch a Truck event for kids sponsored by Ravenna Kiwanis, a Halloween costume contest for dogs, and a fundraiser for the Ravenna Fire Department’s 9/11 Memorial. Those attending also were offered promotions for businesses located in the mile.

Sgt. Sean Redfern from Camp James A. Garfield helps Pierce Ratchford, 4, and Malachi Rice, 6, get up into the Army vehicle brought out for the touch-a-truck activity as part of the “Main Street Mile” event in downtown Ravenna Saturday.

Chelsea Gregor, secretary of Main Street Ravenna, came up with the idea for the mile after seeing an aerial map done by Dennis West, the city’s economic development director, that showed that the distance between Clinton and Sycamore streets and back was exactly a mile.

Todd Peetz, president of Main Street Ravenna, said the Mile was “Chelsea’s baby,” and handed her the scissors so she could cut the ribbon. He said the Mile was designed to promote Ravenna as a place to come visit.

Main Street Ravenna board member Chelsea Gregor cuts the ribbon to dedicate the grand opening of the city’s “Main Street Mile”. The "Main Street Mile," a 1-mile loop of downtown Ravenna was designed to call attention to the downtown area and all it has to offer.

“We’ve got a lot of great things going on in Ravenna,” he said.

Gregor said pavement markings had arrived in time for Saturday’s grand opening, but the weather wasn’t conducive to installing them, so they were displayed along the mile instead. She said she was pleased with the turnout, despite the cold weather and cloudy skies.

“As long as the word gets out,” she said. “The business community has responded well to the idea.”

Ravenna Economic Development Director Dennis West stops to snap a photo of his wife Amy and daughter Amber posing inside a fire truck at the “Main Street Mile” dedication and grand opening ceremony Saturday morning.

West, who took part in the ribbon cutting, stayed to take a photo of his wife, Amy, and their daughter Amber inside a fire truck. He said he often acted as Gregor’s “sounding board,” and after she saw his maps of the area, she walked the Mile regularly. Because there are a lot of historic buildings in the Mile, he said he’d eventually like to see informational plaques to tell visitors about the history of the buildings.

“It’s a great segue into the redevelopment of the downtown,” he said, adding that the event and the Mile brings more attention to the viability of the city’s downtown. “People want things to happen,” he said.

City of Ravenna Mayor Frank Seman talks with other attendees of the event dedicating the grand opening of the “Main Street Mile” in downtown Ravenna.

Mayor Frank Seman commended Gregor, who also works for the city as clerk of council, for the work she did on the mile.

“I think it’s just the beginning,” he said. “It’s going to generate interest in the downtown area.””

Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at


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